A screenshot of Age of Empires Online.

A mobile version of Microsoft's Age of Empires franchise will be released for iPhone and Android smartphones before Windows Phone, Reuters reports.

This isn't the first time Microsoft has made one of its game franchises available on rival products - Wordament and Kinectimals are already out for iPhone - but it is unusual for a Microsoft game to launch on rival devices before its own hardware.

Microsoft hasn't explained why the Windows Phone version is launching later, but it may have something to do with the extra time that would be needed to create a Windows 8 app version of the game.

The Age of Empires mobile game is made by Japan's Klab Inc and is licensed from Microsoft. In a statement Microsoft said it had no announcements to make regarding other games being released on iOS and Android.

Halo: Spartan Assault, announced earlier this month, is a Halo spin-off exclusive to Windows 8 devices, but producer Dan Ayoub didn't rule out the possibility of an iOS and Android version when Eurogamer quizzed him.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

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